Virginia Barton

In the Pink

Oxford, 2005


routemaster-double-decker-bus-oxford-england(See the people in the bus: every shade of sullen rust and sulky grey; black, navy, slate. Faces to match: from behind closed doors, winter pale, sickly thick and costive; people silent, steamy from recent rain, longing to go home, – or anywhere. Chafing on the crowded bus.)

After-work-weary shoppers, glum school-kids, morose old men, sourpuss wives.


Then galvanised! Astounded! Dumbstruck!

For suddenly – onto the bus – erupts a vision! A glorious totally outrageous and unexpected starburst of colour; a tiny, fluffy, gob-smacking vision!

A five-foot octogenarian clad entirely in pink!

Tinkerbell, the Tree-Top fairy, Titania.

How we stared, how we gawped at the radiance of her; truly, she was incandescent.

“All the way dearie”. To the driver, as dazzled as the rest.


She wore:

A pink plastic mac, spangled with white stars and a matching umbrella. No gloves. Her nails, too glam to hide, shaped, and coloured Cupid’s Candy at a guess. A modest rucksack, also plastic, white, with pink stars spangling. And handbag, dark pink leather, class, from whence a small folding purse spilled out the fare. Of course her specs were pearly-pink- framed and her hair the faintest sunset shade. To crown it all a hat, a stunning chiffon (pink) “meringue,” studded with roses.

Little lady, brave in your Pink, with your glorious plumage, your ready smile, your ignorance of aged infirmities! You shamed our gloomy autumn woolens, our sniffles and Keep Out faces.

Sugar Plum beacon in that beastly bus.


Why didn’t we cheer?


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